Weekends are all about laziness, pajamas, and really yummy food---especially breakfast. I think I've said it before, but my weekday breakfasts are quite boring, and don't often involve using the stove or oven (much to my kids' dismay). But the weekend is another story. It's the time for pancakes and bacon, biscuits with butter and honey, blueberry or banana muffins, or The Best French Toast-my dad's recipe. My only strict requirement is that you make this while still in your pajamas with a mug of something warm to drink. Coffee for me, please!
Once again, I am taking inspiration from my dad. You better get used to it; he is undoubtedly the best cook I know, and my biggest cooking influence. (In case you hadn't figured it out yet). His French Toast is the best. I am usually in the salty/savory breakfast camp (or, more truthfully, the "coffee for breakfast" camp), but this French toast makes me jump the fence. There's nothing like it. And, just in time for the weekend, here's the recipe. (P.S.--this is perfect for those "breakfast-for-dinner" nights, too.)
5/30/2019 update: I decided to re-photograph this recipe with the help of my husband; He is the invisible and very handsome syrup pourer. Also, with a beautiful bouquet of wild flowers I picked on my dad's property today. So much has changed since I first shared this recipe, but the biggest and saddest change is that the inspiration behind this post and the man who taught me this recipe and made this french toast for me countless times, my dad, passed away last August. I wrote a little bit about my dad, his property that I inherited, his incredible influence over me, and how I've been coping in a recent post Wild Thistles and Wineberries if you want to read it. It's more like a journal entry, something I just needed to write. It's long and slightly rambling, but it explains just a little about how wonderful and wild my dad was. My kids called him "BoBo" a name my son pulled out of thin air when he was a tiny thing. And they call this BoBo's French Toast. I hope you'll give it a try and I hope you love it as much as we do.
As far as variations on this, feel free to mix up the extracts, spices, toppings. It's a basic recipe. My dad would sometimes add butter extract to the custard mixture. I come by my love for butter very naturally it seems.
- 1 loaf of day or two old French Bread (Or Italian, just don't get it with seeds or spices on top) sliced into thick 1 ½ to 2 inch slices
- 2 cups half and half or whole milk
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (or the seeds of a vanilla bean if you want to get super, Crème brûlée style fancy)
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and/or nutmeg (this is totally optional, and I add it depending on my mood--sometimes I just want the vanilla)
- good pinch of salt--about ½ teaspoon
- butter and vegetable oil for cooking
- butter and syrup for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk well. Add half and half or milk, honey or syrup, vanilla, salt, and any spices you're using and whisk to combine. Place your sliced bread into a baking dish large enough to hold them comfortably in a single layer. Or, alternatively, split it evenly between two smaller dishes. Pour over your wet mixture and allow to soak for about 5 minutes before flipping and allowing to soak another 5 minutes. This step is so important! One of my biggest food peeves is French toast that is still dry in the middle. Let it soak. Just walk away and let it soak. It will drink up the liquid, and you will be rewarded for your patience. I promise.
When your bread is done soaking, prepare a large griddle or skillet by heating about two tablespoons of butter with a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Carefully lift your soaked bread, allowing excess to drip off, and place on pre-heated griddle. Cook slowly allowing to brown for about 7 minutes on each side. Flip as needed to get it evenly browned. Do this in batches if you don't have a large griddle.
When it is nice and brown on both sides, remove to a sheet tray and bake for about 5-10 minutes. This last step is my dad's signature move, and it just ensures the bread is cooked all the way through, as well as making it puff up or soufflé a little like my dad always said. And it guarantees that while you scurry around getting the final breakfast preparations done, your French Toast will be nice and hot when you're ready to sit down and slather it with butter and syrup. My family's favorite accompaniment is sausage, but bacon is obviously great, too. Whatever you serve it with will be perfect.
Here are some other great weekend breakfast ideas!
And here's another post I wrote about my dad:
Hug your dad and make him this French Toast. xo - Anita
Thanks so much for stopping by. Come visit me on Instagram @cookonawhim!